Upbeat State of the District Tarnished by Homelessness Statistics


District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray’s State of the District Address last week was downright celebratory — and there appeared to be a lot to celebrate and promise.

Mayor Gray promised to pay special attention to the issue of affordable housing, pledging to commit $100 million to affordable housing and the thousands of additional units that would result. There was talk about the continuing rise in the District’s population, at the rate of a thousand per month, rising school enrollment and a rising number of charter schools, and numerous commercial developments en route to being begun or completed all over the district, including areas which hadn’t seen many cranes before. Things were getting to be just peachy in the district, what with at least two vastly improved sports franchises and another apparently on the road to getting better.

We have a major $400 million surplus,
ladies and gentlemen, which is great for everybody, even city employees who may get a raise after years of having none. Yup, it’s great to live in D.C.

…Unless you happen to be homeless. Washington Post Metro writer Petula Dvorak pointed out the startling fact that there are 600 kids living in the city’s single family homeless shelter. Six hundred kids. Not only that, but according to her report, the kids and parents living in that shelter have to go through uncommonly difficult bureaucratic hoops just to get cots there.

The mayor rightly indicated that we’re on our way to becoming a capital capitol city. Everyone can enjoy living here and wants to come here to live here. It’s a great town unless you’re homeless.

It’s good to hear about the focus on affordable housing, but we haven’t yet heard any details, or if there’s money in the hundred million that might go toward the homeless, increasing shelters or housing for the homeless and making sure that children. There was talk once of creating affordable housing geared for the homeless, especially for homeless families, single parents or children. Let’s hear details about those funds for affordable housing. Maybe then we can call ourselves a capital city.

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